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Thor’sLinks: Halos Help Houston, Vex Yanks

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A 3-2 win over MFY puts NY 1 game behind Astros for playoff home field advantage.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Well, well, well! It sure looks like Halos Heaven has a strong Daily Link farm system. Maybe the best in SBN. Halos in DE has been brilliant! Major kudos, right there.

New York celebrated CC Sabathia’s final career start last night. They celebrated his starting, they celebrated his existing, but they forgot to celebrate David Fletcher owning CC, going 2 for 2 with a run scored against him. Dillon Peters would hand a meatball to Aaron Judge with a runner on so that Judge could tie the game back up with yet another one of them 2019 Yankee Stadium right field homers. Some other stuff happened, too, but the entire game hinged upon this classic. Where Adam Ottavino is throwing this remains a mystery of the universe. But the best part is watching it over and over again and enjoying the reactions in the stands. Priceless. That’s ballgame, folks, Angels winning 3-2.

As some of you know, I blew my 2019 One Great Vegas Dice Roll on JeffJoiner’s “pick the date that the Halos will assure themselves of a losing record” contest. Not only was I the only person to pick the correct date, but my 1st tie-breaker guess of how many runs the Angels would score was off by merely 1 run. I also correctly predicted that the Rays would score precisely 3 times as many runs in the game than the Halos. As such, I am now saddled with a pair to game tickets. It beats coming in second place, I suppose, since I hear that party is burdened with four.

Considering the W/L situation, and considering the competition to be faced in these final 6 home games, this is one of those years where I wish the Angels had finished the season someplace far, far away from Angel Stadium. I don’t need an Ohtani shirt. I don’t need a Trout jersey. And I don’t need to sit there on Fan Appreciation Night and listen to the team announce prize after prize going ‘randomly’ to the seats in the infield sections of the 100 level. That leaves the choosing to the Wednesday night game against the A’s, the Thursday night game against the Astros, or the Sunday closing game against the Astros bench as Houston rests their guys ahead of those playoff thingies we don’t care to participate in any longer. What’s your suggestion?

We have a slightly earlier game today, and then we are locked down to the AL West.

Have some The-Band-Is-Back-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Season Status Update: I am back to report on 83 losses and counting. Tied for 10th-worst in MLB Only but there are 3 teams just below us with 86-87. The Halos have a real chance to leap up the June draft board by falling down just a few more L’s. It might even be possible to draft ahead of teams that are actually TRYING TO LOSE in order to draft high......At 30.5 games out of 1st place the Angels are currently sitting at the 6th-worst divisional laggard spot in franchise history. 2001 remains king finishing 41 games back, but the current guys have a real shot at ending up 3rd-worst (which right now is 36 games out).......There have been more than 20 seasons with more than 83 losses, but this year’s edition should easily end up in the bottom 15 all time.....With only 1.2 innings left to achieve 100, we are doomed to pay out Trevor Cahill’s bonus BUT we will have at least 1 pitcher with at least 100 IP’s for the season, avoiding history...........

The DEA has decided to track down how it was that Tyler Skaggs obtained the drugs that he overdosed on. Dear DEA, opioids are every frickin’ where, dude. The stuff came from everywhere, and anywhere. it comes from Mallinckrodt. It comes from Purdue Pharma, which is hiding behind bankruptcy lawyers to protect themselves from their culpability. This smacks me as the EPA deciding to investigate where all the ocean trash is coming from because some of it just washed up on the beach in Malibu.

I assume that you did not miss the return of Giancarlo Stanton last night...........But did you notice Kaleb Cowart?............

Albert Pujols is paddling hard to keep his head above the career .300 water line............

Skipper Brad knows that this season has been “trying”. Yeah, Skip, I have been trying, too..........

With one person’s opinion, of The Top 10 Individual Seasons of the Decade, Mike Trout has 3 of them. And 2012 is overlooked entirely. In fact, the author ranks 2012 as merely Trout’s 7th best...........

Trout Porn, in a kind of sad trombone sort of way..........And more Trout Porn, from a baseball person choosing to fight back against Alex Bregman homers.................

Billy Eppler is on the brink. He might be no worse than the #2 MLB GM candidate to be jobless about a year from now..........

($$) - Captain Obvious is writing articles for The Athletic now. To improve pitching, the Angels also should look at catching this offseason..........

One of the problems that exist when one party figures out that they are on the shitty end of some business contract, such as it happens to be between The City of Anaheim with respect to their stadium deal with the Angels, is that digging back out of that shitty hole is such a big difference that the two sides rarely agree to new terms. Either the party that was on the short end agrees to only a partial contract upgrade, or the other party walks away entirely. Anaheim needs to consider whether it wants to exist as a for-profit entity or as something else, something that does not need to realize profit (or break even)..........


Everywhere In Baseball

Home Run Derby Update:.....With both Mike Trout and Christian Yelich injured and done for the year, this HR meter is not moving very fast any more. Pete Alonso still owns the lead but it only went up 1 digit - to 48 - in the last week. Eugenio Suarez takes over the #2 spot at 47, and Jorge Solar is up at 45 with Cody Bellinger now down in the 5th spot at 44............

This last PTO trip involved time in Chicago, where I got to attend my first ever Wrigley Field game. Yes, it was THIS Wrigley Field game, where Jonathan Lucroy came in as a pinch-hitter. (Lucroy would draw a 4-pitch walk to load the bases, advance to 3B on a Nick Castellanos double, and then get doubled up at 3B on a Kris Bryant lineout.) Some observations:

  • The entry security process is beyond being a joke. Although they did pull over one of my buddies, who has a metal hip, while I was on the other side waiting for him to be wanded I could see all the metal detectors flaming red as people passed through without so much as a howdy do. Theater, indeed, but no line was more than 5 deep and getting through lasted less than 20 seconds.
  • For some reason, although the field is properly lighted, the stadium seating is lit indirectly. Fans sit in semi-darkness. It’s quite odd compared any other place I have attended.
  • That said, the stadium light placements tend to glare in the field of vision from my seat (field level, just beyond the 3B dugout, about 30 rows up).
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, where Angels Stadium is 10 for pre-game and between inning audio and video excitement, I give Wrigley Field a 6 at best, maybe 6.5. Compared to the LAA pre-game stuff, Cubs player intros are pretty hokey.
  • The Wrigley video boards are kept beautifully clean and uncluttered during the game, making it easy to read the in-game data.
  • On the other hand, some of the most important data is presented in some random placements. The current ball-strike count and number of outs is in the direct center of the center field board, while the speed of the last pitch is on a small video board on the fascia of the upper deck over the 1st base side. Some of the pitcher stats are on a corner of the left field board, and other stats are on the fascia of the 2nd deck, again above the 1st base side. So one has to look all over the place to get the stats and situation after each pitch.
  • The place was packed. And with real people, not “paid attendees”. For a Monday night game against the lowly Reds that would seem amazing, but then I realized that there are not too many nice evenings left for Chicagoans to enjoy outdoors so I am assuming they need to strategize and get out and make the most of it.
  • I also attended a Notre Dame football home game, which I share only to state that the Wrigley Field bleacher population is the Major League Baseball equivalent of the student section in college football. Those people out there are incredible, with routines and traditions and group events and everything. And that includes this guy, who I did watch. The only thing they lack is bench-pressing their fellow fans whenever runs are scored.
  • I have never experienced more efficient concessions. Both walk-up and vendor-based. Not even at college baseball games (Cal State Fullerton and USC).
  • All in all, we really need to reward Wrigley with an Angels-Cubs World Series and let those fans see Mike Trout play meaningful baseball...........

It was a pretty shitty time while I was gone. Between the time I teed up all those DIY links and this morning, we got formal word from the organization that (in order) Tommy LaStella, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, Mike Trout, Max Stassi, Cam Bedrosian and now Luis Rengifo are shut down for the season. But at least we ain’t the Yankees, no sir. The Yankees are “cursed”..........

Everybody was “dazzled” by Luis Severino’s return to the mound. Everybody chooses to ignore that he was facing the LA Angels’ 2nd and 3rd string bats (Goodwin, Fletcher, Walsh, Rengifo, Thaiss, Hermosillo and Bemboom)..........

The Oakland A’s are mystifying once again. One of the reasons might be their low ground ball rate, but I am not sold on that. Their rate is only 2.4% better than that of the Halos but 1.1% worse than that of the Mariners. It’s a factor, but it’s a factor mixed in with many others. The voodoo is somewhere else but, since their pitching is more middle of the pack while their run scoring is right there among the other playoff teams, the smoke does seem to be coming from the offensive side..........

Whatever it is that Oakland is doing, they are doing it without tanking. Which means, for us, that it IS possible to salvage our future while still being competitive.........

What really happens back in New York in The Replay Room? Well, for one thing they are hoping the schedulers are not booking more than 12 games at a time because they aren’t rigged for more than that (time zones, baby!). The biggest surprise to me is that during a review, all the replay umpires might gather around to consult. The second biggest thing to me is this, which I did not know: “One thing fans might not know, especially on close plays at first base, is that the ball is considered in the fielder’s glove as soon as it touches any part of the leather -- it doesn’t have to be in the pocket with the glove closed. So if the replay shows the ball touching leather before the runner touches the bag, and before the ball is actually caught, then the runner is out. Of course, the catch has to be completed.”..........

Bookmark this for the playoffs, because managers are fairly predictable..........

Here is something you didn’t consider. Giving a very young kid a huge contract extension can actually increase the odds of that player remaining in the Minors, as it is with Rusney Castillo and the Red Sox. Why? Because as of the new CBA, if the Red Sox were to add Castillo to their 40-man, they would have to add his entire 2019 salary to their Luxury Tax calculations...........

Now we find out. Dellin Betances did a jig because he failed to properly count to three. And because he failed to properly count to three, Dellin Betances injured his Achilles..........

Family times in MLB.......First we have the Biggio family father-son duo......Then we have the Yastrzemski family tree, where apples don’t fall very far.............

A great moment last night, when Amir Garrett’s Let The Boys Play defeats the Unwritten Book of Rules as lorded by Kyle Schwarber.............

Let’s do some Venezuela.....because the MLB banned players from participating in winter baseball there, the League is shortening its season..........For the Little League team that came from Venezuela to participate in the LLWS, things were especially tough.....Getting here was tough. “‘Getting passports in Venezuela now is very difficult...So many of them had to ask for favor from the mayor of Maracaibo or government entities.”.....Going back home was tough. “The kids are once again grappling with daily challenges, like power cuts that keep him up at night.”.....Competing here was tough: “There the [other] players are fat and run hard. They are not sleepy, We are sleepy. We are slim and we are sleepy. We do not run well because we do not sleep well.”..........

What? Companies lie?? Who knew??? Lawsuit claims AT&T created fake DirecTV Now accounts to inflate subscription numbers............


The Duffle Bag

MLB Job Alert: The Phillies are gearing up for some off-season R&D. They are looking to hire a Quantitative Analyst....a software engineer AND software engineer Intern.....and an Intern to work in Operations....The Twins are just looking to load up on Interns..........Because beer is a force for social goodness............(h/t UniWatch) Every team should have an Obscure Jersey Night! What would YOU wear?..........Bartolo Colon, showing 12-year olds his OG..........This guy could have been yours pretty cheap, Billy..........Ozzie Albies forgets that MLB uses cameras. Not even a nice try, kid, but funny stuff...........